4 Days until the Daytona 500

In Sprint Cup Series competition the #4 car has started 1,547 races and has 57 wins, 56 poles, 281 top 5s, 532 top 10s, and 444 DNFs.

  • From 1952-1954 Slick Smith  started the #4 car 26 times with no wins.
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Slick Smith

 

  • Rex White  drove #4 to victory lane 26 times between 1959-1964 in 168 starts. Due in part to his suffering from polio as a child, Rex stood only 5 foot 4 inches tall and 135 lbs. In 1960 Richard Petty, Junior Johnson, Lee Petty, and three other drivers were disqualified for not making a proper entrance to pit road at the World 600, propelling White to the points lead. This, along with his 6 wins and 35 top 5s in 40 races, enabled Rex to be crowned the 1960 Grand National (Sprint Cup) Champion. In 2015, White was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame  for his accomplishments. At age 86, Rex White is currently NASCAR’s oldest living champion .
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Rex White
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Rex White being inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, 2015

 

  • North Carolina native “Big John” Sears  has the most starts in #4 with 289 from 1966-1973. In a time before sponsorship was ubiquitous, Sears would help pay the bills by advertising upcoming races  on the sides of his car, which was typically salmon colored. Big John never won a race, though he did finish in the top 5 a total of 127 times in his 317 career races. The best points finish for Sears is fifth which he achieved back-to-back in 1967 and 1968. He retired after a dismal 1973 season in which he was plagued with engine and mechanical failures.
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Big John Sears, 1969

 

  • From 1976-1978 Gary Myers started 30 Winston Cup (Sprint Cup) races in #4 without earning a win.
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Myers, 1978

 

  • Connie Saylor started #4 a total of 20 times from 1980-1983. Originally starting the number as an independent driver competing in one-off events, Saylor’s final start in the number is historic for being the first start of Morgan-McClure Motorsports at Talladega in 1983. After this race, Saylor would be replaced by Mark Martin  who made 6 starts in the MMM #4 in ’83.
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Saylor, 1982
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Mark Martin, 1983

 

  • Tommy Ellis took over the MMM #4 for the 1984 season making 20 starts, while Joe Ruttman made 3 starts. The following year, Ruttman  started the car 16 times for a career total of 20 starts in the number.
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Ellis, 1985
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Joe Ruttman, 1985

 

  • In 1986 Rick Wilson  began driving the #4 Oldsmobile, now with financial backing from Kodak film. This sponsor/team combination would prove to be one of the longest lasting and iconic partnerships in the sport. Wilson brought consistency to the team, and the #4 became a frequent finisher in the top 15. Wilson got the team its first pole position at Bristol Motor Speedway in 1988, its first full season on the circuit. When Wilson announced he was leaving the team in 1989, the team was eighth in points. Rick Wilson started 93 races in the #4 car without a win.
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Rick Wilson, 1986

 

  • For the 1990 season, the team hired Phil Parsons, but after three races, Parsons was released in favor of Ernie Irvan . Midway through the season the team switched from Oldsmobile to Chevrolet in order to get more manufacturer support. Their first race after the switch was at Bristol, and Irvan picked up first career victory , as well as the first victory for MMM. The next season, Irvan won the Daytona 500  and The Bud at the Glen . When the checkered flag fell at the end of the season, the team was fifth in points. The next season, Irvan won three races over a two month stretch, at Sears Point International Raceway, the Pepsi 400 at the Daytona International Speedway, and at Talladega Superspeedway.
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Irvan, 1992

In 1993, Irvan won the pole twice, as well as a victory at Talladega. When Davey Allison died in an aircraft accident, Robert Yates asked Irvan to take his place. Irvan wanted out of his contract with MMM, and it ensued into an ugly lawsuit. Irvan was able to get out, but there were hurt feelings on both sides. Irvan drove #4 in 105 races and visited victory lane 7 times with the team.

 

  • For the 1994 season, the team hired Sterling Marlin to drive. In his first race in the team, Marlin won theDaytona 500 beating out, ironically, Irvan.
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Marlin, 1994

Marlin won the 1995 Daytona 500  as well, in addition to two more races at Darlington Speedway and Talladega. In 1996, Marlin won two races, at Talladega and the Pepsi 400 at Daytona. After the team went winless with Marlin in 1997, finishing 25th in points, the team and driver decided to part ways. Marlin won a total of 6 races in his 125 starts in the MMM #4.

 

  • In 1998, Bobby Hamilton  was signed on to drive the #4 car for MMM after being replaced by John Andretti in the Petty #43. In their eighth race together, he won from the pole at Martinsville . This would be the last trip to victory lane for the MMM team. He ended the season tenth in the points. He had another ten top-ten finishes the following season, but after falling to 30th in points in 2000, he left for Andy Petree Racing. Hamilton earned 1 win in his 101 starts in #4.
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Bobby Hamilton, 2000

During his time at MMM, Hamilton founded his Truck Series team for which he chose to run #4. Hamilton raced occasionally in the Truck Series until 2003  when he took his team full time with Square-D providing sponsorship. After a strong season  in 2003, Hamilton won the Championship in 2004 becoming the first owner/driver to win a major NASCAR title since Alan Kulwicki. As his team continued to expand, Hamilton switched to #04 in 2005. In 2006, a diagnosis of head and neck cancer would end his racing career and eventually take his life in 2007. Hamilton was 49.

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Hamilton, 2004
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Bobby Hamilton, 2004 Truck Series Champion

 

 

  • 2001 was a the beginning of the end for MMM. The team struggled to keep a driver behind the wheel for a full season as Robby Gordon, Kevin Lepage, and Bobby Hamilton Jr. all made starts. Mike Skinner drove the car for the full 2002 season with little success.
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Mike Skinner, 2002

In 2003 the team switched to Pontiac , but back to Chevrolet in 2004 as Pontiac left the sport.

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Skinner, 2003

The team began rotating drivers as Skinner, Lepage, Johnny Sauter, Stacy Compton, PJ Jones, Johnny Miller, Jimmy Spencer, Mike Wallace, John Andretti, Todd Bodine, Ward Burton and Scott Wimmer all made starts from 2003-2006. After losing the Kodak sponsorship in 2004, the #4 car gained sponsorship from Lucas Oil & State  Water Heaters.

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Ward Burton, 2005

The team’s final season was 2007 in which Ward Burton drove the car in 16 events. Scott Wimmer attempted to qualify the car at a one-off race at Bristol in 2009 . Wimmer made the event, and finished 29th.

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Scott Wimmer, 2009

Since 2009, legal problems have prevented Morgan-McClure from actively competing. Larry McClure was charged with federal income tax fraud for not reporting $269,000 for cars used in the ARCA series. He was also forced to pay back $60,000 to Kodak for falsifying an invoice. McClure spent eighteen months in jail and works at a family car dealership. MMM returned to Sprint Cup at Bristol in August 2010, but Lepage failed to qualify for the race. The team has not attempted another race. The team closed its doors in 2012. Mike Skinner Started 50 races in #4, Lepage 35 races, Mike Wallace 30 races, Jimmy Spencer 25 races, Scott Wimmer 24 races, and Ward Burton 19 races.

 

  • In 2010 Kasey Kahne  announced that he would drive for Hendrick Motorsports in 2012. Essentially, that left Kahne as a free agent for only the 2011 season. The struggling Team Red Bull hired Kahne for just the 2011 season after he was released from RPM. Kahne used the #4 for his Red Bull Toyota, a homage to the number he used in Sprint Cars. At Phoenix  in late 2011, Kahne earned an upset win. In victory lane Kahne was very emotional as he dedicated the win to his Grandparents. The team would close its doors only a few weeks later. This win is Kasey’s only win in a Toyota, allowing Kahne to be the only active driver to have won in a Ford, Dodge, Toyota, and Chevrolet. Kahne started 36 races in #4 with 1 win.
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Kasey Kahne, 2011

 

  • After 13 years in the RCR #29, Kevin Harvick moved to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014 to drive the #4 car. Harvick won in just his second start with SHR at Phoenix  International Raceway.

 

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Harvick, 2014
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Harvick, 2014

The team then won again at Darlington Raceway in April, leading 239 of 374 laps and using fresher tires to pass Dale Earnhardt, Jr. with two laps to go. Harvick’s two wins earned him a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. He advanced into the second round with two top 5’s, then won at Charlotte  in October to earn a spot in the third round. Harvick finished the season strong, winning the penultimate race of the year at Phoenix  to remain in title contention, then winning the final race of the year at Homestead-Miami Speedway  to clinch his first Sprint Cup Championship.

 

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Harvick, 2014 Champion

 

Harvick started 2015 with 8 straight top-2 finishes, including 2 wins at Las Vegas and Pheonix.  The first race of the Chase took place at Chicagoland. Harvick finished 42nd after getting a flat tire and spinning into the wall due to contact with Jimmie Johnson a few laps earlier on a restart. A confrontation did take place, after Harvick met with Johnson and punched him in the chest. After picking up another win at the Dover Chase race, Harvick would end his 4-race win streak at Pheonix after finishing 2nd. Harvick was one position away from defending his title at Homestead, but a second place finish wasn’t enough to beat Kyle Busch.

In 2016, Harvick would again win at Phoenix after narrowly edging Carl Edwards on the final lap. Harvick would also win at Bristol in the late-summer where Kevin invited his boss Tony Stewart to join him in celebrating.

Harvick would score 2 more wins in the Chase at New Hampshire and Kanasas, but finishes of 7th at Talladega,  20th at Martinsville, and 6th at Texas would prevent Harvick from entering the Homestead Final 4.

Harvick has 108 starts & 12 wins in #4 to date, and will return in 2017 driving a Ford.

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Kevin Harvick testing his new Ford at Phoenix, 2017

Other notable drivers in #4:

  • Bill Myers, 17 starts, 1 win
  • John Soares, 7 starts, 1 win
  • Lennie Pond, 4 starts
  • Elmo Langley, 3 starts
  • Jim Paschal, 3 starts
  • Hershel McGriff, 2 starts
  • Joe Nemechek, 2 starts
  • Bill Rexford, 1 start
  • Bob Welborn, 1 start, 1 win
  • Al Keller, 1 start, 1 win
  • Lake Speed, 1 start
  • Rich Bickle, 1 start
  • Cotton Owens, 1 start

 

In Sprint Cup Series competition the #04 car has started 121 races and has 0 wins, 0 poles, 7 top 5s, 20 top 10s, and 67 DNFs.

  • From 1969-1970 Ken Meisenhelder started 34 races in his #04 Oldsmobile.

 

  • Hershel McGriff started #04 32 times from 1972-1993, most notably for Petty Enterprises in the 1970s. McGriff is a West Coast late model driver who only ran one full season in Cup, but consistently made starts at the West Coast tracks.

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Other notable names in #04:

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